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tv   [untitled]    March 2, 2012 4:30pm-5:00pm EST

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we're given relief. it's a rule designed to give relief. >> wouldn't you agree that the businesses of the united states of america find themselves when they're looking at cement mact, boiler mact, utility mact, many of the businesses of the united states of america find themselves in the exact same position that the epa finds itself where the burdens are too great on our own rules to follow our rules. and don't you think there ought to be a tailoring act for the job creators of america to assist them in creating jobs for the hard-working taxpayers of america? don't you agree that that would be good policy? yes or no? >> i don't agree with your premise, sir. >> it's okay to have one standard for the epa and another standard -- >> no, sir, the standard is not for the epa in the tailoring rule. >> i only have a few minutes, ma'am. i do get passionate about this because my people are losing jobs. let me say this, as well. when we were here earlier this year and mrs. bennett was kind enough to be with us, she indicated that some of the money
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that had already been committed but had not yet been spent, some of which was more than five years old was there because of various reasons. you indicated some of those are five years old has time.employe
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than you had then. i'm wondering if there was ever a study done that happens in many cases a diminishing return on investment or at some point you get too many folks and you
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can't be as efficient. i am wondering if any study has been done at the epa of how many employees you need to be most efficient in accomplishing your tasks. >> there have been workload studies done in the past, sir. >> it appears you all are doing a lot more with a lot less already and i'm just wondering where the break point is because we're trying to find money and i hope you appreciate that. and then -- my time is up. i yield back. >> thank you. >> at this time we recognize mr. engel of new york for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. i know i want to reiterate and mention some of the topics that have been mentioned. i want to emphasize that. before i do that, i want to thank you for the job you've done, excellent job you've done.
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you're on the hot seat. it's a tough job. the work you do is so important. one of the frustrations i have had with this job in congress and the attacks on the epa and the attacks on clean air and water and all these things are very frustrating to me because i believe that the role that you play is such an important role and we ought to be facilitating the things that you do rather than impeding them. i want to thank you personally for the job that you've done. i'm glad you're agency is there and glad you're doing the work the american people want us to do. people want clean air and clean water and all these other things. i just want to state that. i wanted to add my voice to miss castor who spoke about the reduction in the 2013 budget, $359 million for the clean water and drinking water state revolving funds.
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i hope there might be a way to try to restore some of that money because my state of new york has received many millions of dollars to protect our water sheds and make upgrades and repairs to our sewer systems and epa's most recent drinking water infrastructure need survey indicates that new york will require $29.7 billion over 20 years to ensure continued delivery of safe, public drinking water. i want to emphasize that, and i hope you can find some way to restore those cuts. i want to talk about fracing, because that is something, in my state, that is a hot topic. we have many, many people who are fearful of fracing. obviously we don't want to contaminate drinking water and have fracing by water sheds. that is a concern i have.
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on the other hand it has the potential to create many jobs in western new york as it has been in pennsylvania. i know that you had -- mr. gatt and mr. green had spoken with you about it with the study. i think the study is a good idea. i think we have to know what we're dealing with. i think it's important to wean ourselves off middle eastern oil and venezuelan oil, with countries that don't wish us well, but i do think the fracing is something that many people remain fearful of and we need to look at. i wish you well in your study and i hope we can have the results of that soon. finally i want to mention a topic that hasn't been mentioned. that is pcbs in schools. last february new york city
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embarked on a ten-year $700 million plan to replace all the old light in new york city schools over the next decade. could you please explain epa's role in that mediation project and provide for me an update on its status? could you also provide an update on efforts to address window caulking in schools as well. >> certainly, sir. in 2011 epa inspected new york city schools for leaking. lighting ballasts were leaking and they were leaking pcbs. those inspections found numerous leaking ballasts with pcb concentrations, some exceeding 600,000 parts per million. the city stepped up and announced a plan in 2011 to replace all pcb lighting ballasts in 772 schools. i believe it's part of their capital budget plan to make schools more energy efficient, the lighting being part of that. the city has allocated $708 million to implement the plan over ten years.
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epa reviewed the plan and told city officials five years would be a more reasonable timeframe to address the ballast issue as part of the larger plan. >> i know five years -- i know new york lawyers for the public interest have recommended two years, and i know things are difficult to be done in two years. pcb contamination on schools is widespread and threatens the health of hundreds of thousands of school children, certainly in new york city. the exposure in children has been found to decrease iqs and increase risk of a.d.d. among other things. would the ten-year timetable -- i made the point. it's hard with the clock ticking. again, i want to emphasize thank you for your very, very good
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work. >> thank you. this time recognize the gentleman from kansas mr. pompeo. for five minutes. >> thank you, thank you for being here today secretary jackson. i want to talk about enforceme enforcement. we haven't had a chance to talk about that at all and enforcement policies. you've asked for an increase in your budget in the office of enforcement, i'll get the name right off of enforcement compliance $3.5 million increase there. i've heard lots of concerns from my district of enforcement policies at epa. i thought i would do it in the micro today. you mentioned general duty of care a little earlier in answer to the question part of the clean air act. can you tell me if you've adopted any epa -wide policies or guidelines with respect to definitions inside the clean air
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act related to the general duty of care? >> i'm not aware of any, sir, but we could certainly talk to the office of environment on that. >> there's a term in there called extremely hazardous chemicals. you have the risk mitigation plans, which require certain chemicals are stored at manufacturers or producers. but as i understand your environment policy, even if the chemical is not listed as one of those chemicals that requires a risk mitigation plan you can ding the producer or manufacturer under this general -- not very well-defined general of care. is that right? >> that's right. it happened that manufacturers have to be proactive, to have that extra duty of care. >> all right. this is a place i'd love to work with you all. i'd really -- this is congress's fault. they gave you really undefined termed and general authorities
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and said you need to put some definition to it. you've chosen not to do that by regulation or policy memorandum and you've left this open. whether it's acetone whatever it might be they have no idea what you might come after them. i'd like to work with you to develop cleaner standards. frankly i'd like to get rid of section 112r. i think you have plenty of authority under r & p to decide which chemicals are truly dangerous. >> why don't we have our folks talk about that, if there's specific issues in general. >> i'd be happy to do that. do you reward folks inside your agency for performance, how many finds they get or how successful they are for injunctive value? >> we do track and find injunthive relief. large cases that are difficult, it wouldn't be unusual for a manager, i used to run a program for epa years ago for a manager to note hard work and diligence. not specifically.
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you're not tied to how much money you bring into the treasury or how many actions you take. >> all that money goes into the treasury, employees don't get it as incentive, you don't get it as a good job, epa doesn't get it, you're doing a good job. just back to the treasury privilege penalty and fine money. the exception is oil pollution act there's been lots of discussion about this. >> i appreciate that. i will tell you in region 7 at the end of 2010 there was a press release issued that sounded like -- i'll read it to you. this was from region 7 on december 6, 2010. it says, "environmental compliance and enforcement activities conducted by region 7 during fy 2010 sets a new record securing more than $3 billion in investments in pollution control and cleanup as a result of legal action taken against polluters. it then brags it collected fully 30% of epa's fines all across the country. two thoughts, one, is that the kind of press release you think
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is appropriate, sort of bragging about how much money you've taken out of the united states economy. or second, 31% from a single region, region 7, do you think that suggests there's differential enforcement or regions are that different. >> environment finds are oftentimes serendipitous. in terms of bragging on investment and cleanup, investments, those are generally injunctive relief where we require a company not as much to pay the fine but do the work and come into compliance. we think it's important american people know there's an environmental cop on the beat. it deters people from violating. that's an important part of the enforcement program. >> fair enough. i would suggest when the agency uses the term polluters, some of that agreement was with particular business or
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individuals. is that probably right? >> yeah, but that agreement came as a result of an environment. >> probably in this agreement, this agreement doesn't indicate any wrongdoing, simply says we're willing to cooperate with the epa, yet you used the term "polluters" which i will tell you in kansas we view that as a negative term. we think of polluters as someone we don't think highly of. yet they use it in press release for their neutral enforcement powers and i would suggest you talk to folks about not using language like that. >> thank you. >> at this time we recognize the gentleman from louisiana, mr. cassidy, for five minutes. >> hey, miss jackson. you're always well prepared and unflappable. even though we disagree, let me compliment you on your presence. >> waiting for the other shoe to drop. >> no shoe, truly a compliment. >> thank you. >> care grants, i don't understand these well.
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but i am told care grants that do go to organizations and the press they create is not science and the state does not look at it and you do not look at it but they get headlines and sometimes in our kind of media driven society, that headline has an impact. so, when these community groups get grants from epa, there is nobody at epa responsible for vetting the validity of their claims. first, is that true? >> we certainly don't vet their press releases. we ask them to use science and expect and hope they will. because they are community groups we don't quite hold them to the same standards we might hold a governmental entity or i hope, ourselves. >> i will tell you that's a fair statement. on the other hand does anybody look at the responsibility of these groups in general? are they periodically audited the science they are putting out or claims they are making are
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actually justifiable or hyperbole? >> they are more audited for fiscal responsibilities. >> that's a fair statement. can i believe that. on the other hand i can tell you when people put it out on the press, if it's read, people believe it sometimes even if there's no validity. let me just suggest that if we're going to hold you or a state deq or industry group responsible for the validity of their science, these groups should be as well. they are certainly influencing the debate as much as a major employer with an emissions issue. would you agree with that? >> i think it's fair if there's claims being made someone could ask epa whether or not we agree with that data. in general i see your point. >> thank you. secondly the president in his state of the union speech spoke as natural gas being used as a transportation fuel and hopes to encourage such. i'm not aware of any initiative he proposed, certainly not legislatively. do you know of such an
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initiative? >> i don't believe there's a legislative initiative right now. >> is there an administrative initiative? >> i seem to recall he talked about a corridor in california that could be made to be natural gas friendly and i thought that was voluntary with the state of california but i can check on that. >> okay. now, one thing proposed is the use of natural gas to create methanol, use it as a fuel additive. i really kind of pursued this. seemed like it would be a wonderful way to come up with a low cost way to supplement oil and gas particularly with the ratio of cost of natural gas to oil. i went so far as to meet with people from industry, fairly high in research in industry. they told me it would take 15 years conservatively for something such as methanol to be thoroughly vetted through epa's regulations as to being safe for use.
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it's not methanol per se but rather the agents to make it in gasoline. that said, this is someone currently working on ethanol. so he kind of knows of that which he speaks because this is the process they are going through with ethanol. if we're trying to use natural gas as another way to use transportation fuel is there any way to make it less? is it so daunting to mean it's not going to happen? >> it would be off putting. i'm happy to meet with -- you don't want to meet with me, meet with experts to talk about methinal in particular. of course natural gas in and of itself without a transformation is i believe what the president was more directly addressing in terms of potential transportation. >> he's done -- no offense, i'm not being derogatory, no initiative on it. it sounds great, could be great but nothing has happened. methinal can be a fuel additive, much like ethanol is
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but the regulatory process is so long as to mean it never will happen which is a potential denied, if you will. >> i think it's worth having a discussion with those who are interested in pursuing methanol. >> you've been very responsive to me in the past on a certain issue. if you don't mind i would like took meet them. frankly, my industry groups are afraid of you. >> afraid of me. >> afraid of the agency. afraid of being penalized by regulations. we're tight on time, i will yield back and, again, you're unflappable and well prepared. >> very nice. >> we do have one vote on the floor but 400 people still have not voted so i'm recognizing you, sir, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the administrator for coming. i want to specifically thank administrator jackson for your support of our efforts to restore the gulf of mexico as it relates to dedicating bp finds to the gulf coast states. we passed a portion of the
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restore act here out of the house a few days ago and we're working with senate counterparts to get the entire piece of legislation restore act, bipartisan legislation. le, the restore act by legislation, through the entire process. i don't know if you want to make comments on the restore act, but i want to nau for your efforts there. >> it's extremely important that those resources return to the gulf of mexico, so thank you for your leadership. >> thank you. >> i want to talk about your budget. there's been some talk about what the president's proposal is and whether it's a reduction from current level. i wanted to compare. if you look at what we were given, the view over the four-year period, since you had come in -- of course, there was a big spike through the stimulus bill in fiscal year 2010, which would be about -- represent about a 35% increase in your budget. it's tailored down a little over the years. even with the president's budget request, it would represent about a 9% increase from when
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you took office. i don't know if you want to make sure that these numbers are the same you're using, because under these numbers i'm looking at, you started off with about a $7.6 billion, and you go to an $8.3 billion which represents an increase over the four-year period. i wanted to make sure it was an accurate number. >> just two things, make three. we continually increase the a. of money going to states and tribes, even in a budget down 1.2%. a large part of that big jump you saw was for srfs, which goes directly to the tribes and states, that was 2 billion and 475 for great lakes. that's an erosion of increases back. we've heard a lot about inf infrastructure funding. >> some people suggest there's cuts, and actually there's a $700 million increase over the four-year period. i think that's an increase.
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it's, in fact, a 9% increase. >> they are cuts, in fact, from prior year budgets, but it is also really important to point out that the agency itself, 40% of our dollars head straight out the door to state and tribal grant programs, we're preserving those. we do that at the expense of other agency operations. >> right. again, when you look at when your agency started your second year, i guess, with a 35% increase, that came at a time when many states and businesses were cutting back their budget. so you just want to keep that into perspective. on the hydraulic fracturing issue, i would strongly surgery your agency to allow the states to do what they've done so well for decades, and that's to do state regulating protecting aquifers but amounting for an increase in natural gas our country can provide not only to
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our states, which we are pretty much self-sufficient on natural gas production in america, but with all these new fines not only does it provide opportunity for us to pull other things off gasoline, but it created thousands of new jobs. there's a real concern amongst the community in the natural gas industry that epa is looking at getting into an area where the states have been very successful and proven in regulating that process. i wanted to mention that. on a local issue, i know you've worked with new core, which has built a plant in south louisiana. they're currently pending a permit from the epa, and that one permit alone would equate to about 700-plus jobs. i wanted to know if you can give me a status of that permit. do you have a time line when athat permit could be approved? about 750 jobs are waiting on
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that. >> i believe we've approved the permit, and then it was -- there was litigation that was filed. i believe that's correct mr. ska lease. we issued the greenhouse gas permit one time last year. >> there was one permit and another permit they're waiting on right now. i think there's another one they're waiting on right now that's a second part of their expansion, which that alone would be over 700 jobs. if you could give me a time line of what the likelihood of approval of that would be. i know my time is running short. on refineries, are you planning on regulating greenhouse gases at refineries? >> there are no current rules under development on that issue. we have said in the past as part of our overall greenhouse gas strategy the first big source is utilitie utilities, refineries are next. >> as refineries are next, p if you can keep in mind a small business administration did a
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study that showed that the average cost per family of regulations as a whole comes out to about $15,000 a year per family for the cost of regulations. this isn't just your agency. when i talk to small businesses, many cite epa as the worst offender of this $15,000 per family cost. if you can keep that in mind as you look at the additional regulations. thanks for coming. >> gentleman's time is expired. mr. gardner of colorado, you're recognized for nooiven nifive m. >> thank you for your time and patience to be with us today. a question regarding regional haze and i'm sure you heard this before from others on this committee or other committees. since the clear air act authorizes each state to draft its own state-specific plan, a sip, to address regional haze, do you foresee the epa approving colorado sip, given it has cross spectrum support from electrical facilities and environmental groups and our democrat ittic
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governor and the speaker of the house and has the support in the letter we sent to the epa of our two democratic senators, our three democratic house members and four republican house members? >> i can't speak i will say this. i'm aware colorado has done amazing work at looking on haze issues, and i believe there's some issues on dates for certain units to put on controls versus shutdown. i think the region is working very closely with state on that. >> i think right now the deadline is march 8th, i believe, is the deadline. do you know if that's going to be hit or miss at this point? >> i don't have it in my notes, sir, but ild be happy to get back to you on this. >> has the epa used health standards to reject the sips of new mexico and north dakota? >> epa is still working with north dakota, and i believe a decision is due if not today tomorrow. so we have on regional haze the issue is less about health but visibility. >> so you're not using health
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starn standards on regional haze. >> i'm not aware we are. i can check. i'm more familiar with north dakota. >> are you familiar with kines th hetic dance movements? >> kinesthetic learning. >> no, sir. i'm not a teacher. >> one of ep a's primary activities is gives grant. last december they awarded 25,000 doll to the rep to her dance theater in salt lake city to educate youth on the impacts of air pollution. the project intends to innovative lectures, demonstrations and movement classes in ten elementary schools. kinesthetic learning is to adopt healthy living practices. what is this program? >> i've read about it, and we're reviewing.
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it's an environmental justice grant fram in utah as you mentioned. they use dance to educate. apparently they have aa long history of doing this and are quite well-respected. we are reviewing it at the request of, i think, one of the members. >> why is the epa giving 25,000 to a dance company s? >> it's about communicating to communities in communities with asthma, i don't know if that's the case here. >> given the testimony you talked about, the funding shortages across the government, can you assure us you won't make these kind of grants? >> we're reviewing the program because of when this came to light. >> perhaps we can talk further about dancing and whether epa ought to be funding. >> i'm not the expert. i think it's fair to say we can review the program and i'll be happy to tell what you the
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results of that would be. >> your budget proposal says epa and i know others have touch odd this, it says the epa would reduce spending by $105 million but in previous years e p pa has reused deobligated funds to do so. if epa reuses funding approaching the $160 million amount like last year. they're not reducing spending at all in 2013, is it? >> this came up in an earlier question, mr. gardner. we report on movement of funds, and we're happy to follow-up. >> do you report on those before you actually make the expenditure? is it in the budget justification justification? >> it's in the budget justification, in the financial statements, excuse me, sir. >> but not in terms -- i believe gao actually said that epa -- the congress may want up the epa to submit information on recertification. >> we're doing it as part of the regular financial reporting. >> so you tell us that you spend it after you spend it?
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